What Are The Construction Requirements For Oil Tankers?

New tankers are required to meet certain specifications before being put into use. One of the fundamental requirements is actually the fitting of double hulls into new tankers. Tankers need to be converted or be entirely placed out of service when their useful life is over. Although these measures were put in place owing to a program that was set up way back in 1995, they phased over a number of years because there was no way that numerous single-hull tankers could possibly be converted without the industry and world trade being affected in the process.

A look at the condition assessment scheme (CAS)

The condition assessment scheme applies to all tankers that have had a single hull for 15 years or even more. This means that if a single-hull tanker manages to get a satisfactory report from CAS, it can be allowed to continue its operation as part of category 2 tankers. However, there is a limited time for its operation.

There are certain category 2 and 3 tankers that may receive a bit of consideration from regulatory bodies as well. More often than not, they are fitted with double sides or even double bottoms, which are basically effective oil tanker fitouts for carrying oil. They entirely extend to the double hull spaces and barely meet the requirements or threshold for distance protection. These tankers may be allowed to continue with operations for several years.

Dealing with heavy grade oil

Oil tankers that carry heavy grade oil are known to cause oil pollution. As such, strict policies and regulations have been put in place to ensure that there is minimum oil pollution to reduce environmental impact. One of such policies is the banning of single-hull tankers from carrying and transporting heavy grade oil. Most tankers with a single-hull that are 5000 tons deadweight (DWT) and above are likely to have an environmental impact when they carry heavy grade oil.

What is heavy grade oil?

According to the policies that have been put in place by regulatory bodies for environmental conservation, heavy grade oil refers to crude oil with a density higher than 850kg/cubic meter at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. Tar, bitumen and their emulsions also fall in the category of heavy grade oil. Tankers with 5000 DWT and anything higher are allowed to continue with operation if they meet the requirements of condition assessment scheme (CAS). They are allowed to carry crude oil with a density of 900 kg/cubic meter at 15 degrees Celsius. Factors that are considered before permitting a single-hull tanker to carry on with its operation include its age, size, structural conditions and the operational area.

These regulations have been put in place with a view of protecting the environment. With industrial growth and demand for oil products, there are higher chances of polluting the environment if stringent measures are not put in place. Any tanker that does not meet the necessary requirements is prohibited to operate. This is because it can lead to hazards with serious consequences especially if it is dealing with heavy grade oil. Essentially, tankers are required to have two or more hulls to operate.